The absurdity of hope

I’m not really sure where this is going to end up. I just know where it is now.

I was out with a friend a while back, and we got to talking about romantic relationships, and dating. It became something of a debate, after we’d gotten caught up on the details of our lives since we’d last talked with any depth.

It was odd that the conversation got there. But it was natural, and comfortable, in ways it might not have been in our prior associations. More than I can recall, I TRIED to make it natural and comfortable, as if it was a subject I could discuss without feeling out of my depth and wanting to run from the room, embarassed.

In any case, we had our catch-up, discussion, and debate, on whether the internet and it’s associated trappings (email, chat, Facebook, etc. etc. ad nauseum) made those kinds of relationships easier or harder. He thought it was harder. I thought it was easier.

The odd thing was, I didn’t disagree with a lot of what he said. In some ways, having these other, less threatening ways to socialize, where you’re not immediately facing someone, has encouraged us to remain in our comfortable shells, behind a keyboard where nothing can hurt us, and where we can project whatever image we like. I have struggled- I DO struggle- with that myself sometimes. It’s easier for me to be here, rather than to put myself on the line in a social setting, with people I don’t know. I  need to get out more. I usually enjoy it when I do.

In the right hands, however, I believe connecting online can be a powerful tool, for any kind of relationship. I can speak as to a success story with two of my own friends, who met through a Christian dating service, and are now happily married. I know that my writing, chatting, and podcasting have helped me make connections with people all across the world. And while my one attempt at a long distance romantic relationship didn’t work, I do take positives out of having tried to make it work. You try and take the positives from it, learn and grow.

The trick, I believe, is to not let yourself get trapped into only connecting that way.  Your computer, your email, your blogging, should be a tool within your connections and relationships, and not the sole thread by which your relationships exist. To use the words of one Austin Powers (in what may well be the only instance these words have ever been quoted): “We have freedom AND responsibility. It’s a very groovy time.”

I have to say, this finished up much better than I thought it would. I expected maudlin and emo, and got preachy and self-important. Well done, Churchy, well done.

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4 thoughts on “The absurdity of hope

  1. Colette

    I especially agree with your second-last paragraph there. These days it can be pretty darn hard to meet people you’d be interested in spending your whole life with. It seems pretty hit-and-miss to me. What if you’re just not in the same social circles as the girls that you’d really hit it off with? In that light, meeting through the internet increases your chances of finding someone compatible.

    There’s a flipside though, based on scientific research, that says once you meet someone online, get together in real life as soon as you can if you want it to last. People have so many intricacies built into their physiology as far as love is concerned, it’s crazy. I was watching it on the Discovery channel a few months ago. Couples who gaze into each other’s eyes tend to stay together longer or more definitely than couples who don’t or can’t (as is the online case). And that’s only one example! For sure it’s those little things that, when I started my first relationship online so long ago, I didn’t even know I was missing. The shy smiles across the room. The accidental hand brush. All those dorky puppy love things, you know? You can’t get that with text. You can find out that you have a shared hatred of mushrooms and both enjoyed Lord of the Rings, and that’s a start, but a relationship has so much more potential, for subtleties that transcend text on a screen.

  2. DaveC Post author

    I like the psychology of that. I know it was something I eventually struggled with in my online relationship. Just having them there with you really affirms the connection in a way that no amount of chatting- even on video and voice, where online is bridging the gaps even more- could solve.

    I’ve been asked if I would do a relationship that way again, and I honestly don’t know if I could. Part of that is me still working through some things from the end of my last relationship, but a result of having done that built up a certain need to have that connection.

    For me, I often find it easier to express myself in text and typing, when I’ve got time to really work over my words. So there was an advantage in connecting that way for me on account of that. But getting comfortable in my own skin, as I have for the last couple of years, has really helped me get more comfortable talking with others.

    I think I’m still trying to find that balance.

  3. Colette

    Yes. Of course you need a physical connection! I sometimes think about whether the two of us were foolish to even begin our respective Canada/Europe long-distance relationships. But I don’t really think we were being stupid. The world’s a global village these days, and people move across continents for love. Just maybe not at our age. Still, I regret nothing… I hope you feel the same.

    Dave I thoroughly understand your preference for text. At its base, it seems like a more practical communication method as far as conveying information is concerned. Given the time to think and rethink what you’re saying, assumedly, less accidental slip-ups are made. I know myself, I say tons of horribly stupid things in real life that never would have passed the editing process in an email! But remember this Dave, with nice & introspective guys like you, it’s the slip-ups that girls fall in love with. When you get a bit flustered and are thinking, “Did I really just say that? Why, oh why did I say that?”, just look at her face. She is so hooked. 🙂

  4. DaveC

    I like to say that I don’t regret anything I’ve done, because I’ve learned from it. At least, I’ve tried. I definitely don’t regret having tried a long distance relationship, and wish her all the best.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Colette, I really appreciate your perspective and comments. They do mean a lot to me, especially as someone on the opposite gender of my perspective here.

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